Makeisha, a single mother of two, shares how she experienced firsthand the true impact of Strong Girls, Inc., our 2019 Inspire305 Grand Innovator winner.
Makeisha recognized raising her daughters Diamond and Enmarria takes a village. And thanks to Strong Girls, Inc., she now has that village.
Makeisha, a full-time educator, found herself not having the extra time needed to dedicate to her children, especially after school. She was often working to support them while her daughters were home. She felt she couldn’t be there as much as she wanted, to guide them as they grew up.
She recognized that her youngest daughter, Enmarria, was shy and reserved and heard about Strong Girls, a new after-school program at her daughter’s school, Beacon College Prep. Makeisha encouraged her to sign up.
“She was so excited,” Makeisha enthuses. But this isn’t your ordinary after-school program. Girls start their afternoons with 10 minutes of mindful meditation, followed by some exercise, nutritious snacks and more. On a typical day, the girls could be doing any number of constructive activities like journaling and skits to sharing circles. Enmarria was drawn to activities like Fit Girls—a program where she practiced yoga and various fitness routines.
Strong Girls offers comprehensive programs to provide the skills and tools young girls need to stay focused on learning. They provide continuous support and social and emotional skill building to help girls stay on a path toward higher education and career.
“It’s more than an afterschool program for her,” Makeisha notes. “They act as a second parent and nurture our kids when we can’t because of work.”
Enmarria comes home teaching her family new things. She’s been in the program for a year now and goes every day from 3:30 – 4:30 pm. The teachers at Strong Girls have helped her open up. “She’s very mature now and knows how to deal with other people,” her proud mom says. “She was very shy. [But now] she’s more social. It’s given her confidence.”
This newfound confidence has shown at home, too. Enmarria now plans sister bonding days with her older sister Diamond. And Makeisha attributes these positive changes to the teachers at Strong Girls. “Teachers have a nurturing and caring spirit and they go the extra mile for the kids. Any parent that needs that for their kids should take them there.”
About Strong Girls, Inc.
Strong Girls is a free after school program designed to break the cycle of poverty by providing young girls the skills and support needed to stay focused on learning. Strong Girls operates in Title 1 schools and trains teachers to implement its evidence-based Social Emotional Learning curriculum during critical after school hours. The program begins in third grade and includes structured learning groups, academic support, gender specific programming, fitness and mindfulness.
Know someone that can benefit from Strong Girls, Inc.? Visit stronggirlsinc.org for more information.